Radicalisation through the social media is rising in Bangladesh, despite a decrease in militant incidents, according to a research conducted by the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit (CTTC) of the Bangladesh Police.
Analysing the present trend of terrorism, the CTTC study revealed that the percentage of militant incidents has decreased in the country since 2016.
The Dawah Ilallah, a web forum run by extremists, had only 550 members in 2016, but now the portal has more than 3,000 members, mentioned the CTTC study.
Addressing the National Conference on Preventing Extremism on Tuesday, Monirul Islam, additional commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police and the CTTC chief, said, "After the Holey Artisan attack, police conducted several operations across the country. We dismantled the network of militant organisations.
"Law enforcers took many measures against terrorism, and as a result, militant incidents decreased. We are currently working with different stakeholders to counter the rising radicalisation."
Saiful Islam, deputy commissioner of the CTTC, said, "As many as 82 percent terrorists use the social media, and 56 percent terror suspects were university graduates. We had a common conception that only Madrasa students are involved in militancy, but this has changed."
According to the study, there are four pillars for preventing radicalisation. The essence of the Liberation War, culture and heritage must be promoted and more importance must be given to family bonding and good parenting.
Besides, importance must be given to religious re-education, social reintegration and rehabilitation for deradicalisation.
The CTTC research also said that social institutions can play a major role in preventing radicalisation, while government organisations, NGOs, civil society, regulatory bodies and media also can play a similar role.
"Bangladesh is a role model in combating militancy and we have achieved success in the matter," said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal while addressing the event as the chief guest.
He added, "The people of our country do not believe in militancy, they believe in peace. Our country had no prior history with militancy, but suddenly the targeted killings began.
"A terrorist group started the target killings, and it disrupted our communal harmony. Cesare Tavella was the first target of these terrorists. After that many such incidents occurred."
The home minister continued, "As we were analysing the targeted killings, the Holey Artisan attack occurred. Our prime minister then declared a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism.
"Our law enforcers and people started to work together against militancy and we succeeded in curbing terrorism."
Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal added that frustration and loneliness are the primary reasons behind people turning to militancy and this is why the children must be raised properly.
Present at the event as the special guest, Inspector General of Police Dr Mohammad Javed Patwary said, "The law enforcers are identifying militants and then arresting them. But we cannot rehabilitate them on our own.
"I am urging all stakeholders to address the issue. They (stakeholders) have the opportunity to work on the matter inside prisons."
Mohammad Javed Patwary continued, "The law enforcers conducted several drives including raiding militant dens across the country in 2016. Many militants were killed, and some were sent to prison, which resulted in a decrease of militancy-related incidents."
He added that prevention is always better than cure, and they are working to raise awareness among the people.
"Many militants are out on bail, and we are keeping them under surveillance," he said.
Shafiqul Islam, commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said, "We have failed to curb the increase in radicalisation. The militants cannot be rehabilitated while inside the prison.
"We need to focus on this issue as soon as possible."
The two-day National Conference on Preventing Extremism, organised at the International Convention City Bashundhara, concluded on Tuesday.